Searching for Paradise

Having just finished reading Defiance: The life and choices of Lady Anne Barnard by Stephen Taylor, I thought it would be fun to try and find the ruins of the woodcutters house called "Paradise" that she and her husband used as an escape from work and the big city during the 5 years that she spent in the Cape. We have often stumbled upon them on the fringes on Newlands Forest, but I am not too sure how to get to them, so - armed with a map - we can try on Sunday.
We will meet at the carpark at the Newlands Forest Fire Station off Union Avenue M3 where we will leave some cars and drive to Cecilia Forest carpark.
For a PDF download, click here.
From Cecilia carpark, we will walk up to the Contour Path and along to the path just beyond The Aloes scree slope where we will drop down into Newlands Forest and search for the ruins. Some of the walk is not quite as flat as the word "contour" implies, and some of it involves a bit of boulder hopping across scree slopes, but generally it is not a difficult walk. It should take us between 3 and 4 hours depending on tea and view stops. And hopefully, we will find the ruins of Paradise at the end. They are pretty close to the carpark where we can ferry drivers back to their cars at Cecilia.
The ruins of  Paradise showing what is apparently one of the gables of the original house.

A reconstruction of what the woodcutter's cottage looked like when the Barnards stayed there during their time in the Cape from 1797-1802.
Dog friendly - but bring your SANParks dog walkers activity card in case we are asked, and dogs must be on a lead on the Contour path above Kirstenbosch.

The Fat Lady short cut walk

It was lovely to see Guy waiting for us this morning. Big surprise!
Up, up and up - Long Beach and Pauline's house on the far horizon.
Tea at the Fat Lady Shelter: Michelle, Meg, Sue, Pauline, Guy, Paul, Thea and Stephen.
Bontleeubekkies (Nemesia versicolor) enjoying the warm weather.

Up Elsies with two spaniels, a Scot, Tessa - and some humans

The start at the top of Ravine Steps.

Erica nudiflora.
Tom and Aiden.
Aloe succotrina - one of two naturally occurring aloes on the peninsula.
Gladiolus priorii.
Tea. Paul, Pauline, Meg, Thea, Sue and Stephen. Tessa's curly tail in the centre.
Aiden blending in.
Down again.
Zygophyllum spinosum.
Snakestem Pincushion (Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron).
A sign of the times!

Fireflowers and Baboons on Black Hill

On Sunday we set off to look for fireflowers that come up in the fynbos as the area around Black Hill burned a few months ago.
Amphithalea ericifolia flowers especially well after fires.
Show me the fireflowers.
Liparis capensis.
Macrostylis villosa - a member of the buchu family.
Tea overlooking Noordhoek and Kommetjie.
Down the sandy slopes keeping an eye out for the baboons below.
Alice and Maddie.
Baboons and their monitors in the distance.
One of the most beautiful views on the peninsula.
The baboons.
Closer look.
Laddie on full alert.
Rotstert (Babiana ringens).
The Fire Heath (Erica cerinthoides).
Ground Protea (Protea acaulos) with new leaves popping up out of the soil.
Dodder (Cuscuta ntida) - a member of the Convolvulaceae.
Leaves of the Candelabra Lily (Brunsvigia orientalis).
Wurmbea hiemalis.
Re-sprouting leucadendron bush.
Capelio tabularis.
Kalmoes (Lichtensetinia lacera), according to Trinder-Smith is “most common after fire”.
Escaping the fire by growing in a crevice - and old gnarled Klipkershout (Maytenus oleoides).
Othonna digitata.
Senecio triqueter 
The trek back up the hill.
Relaxing in the wintery sun at home.

Pauline's birthday bubbles

Walk in the Constantia Greenbelt and picnic to celebrate Pauline's 60th. Pauline, Paul, Stephen, Lucy, Richard, Sue and Thea. Many thanks for the food and drink!
Thanks for the pic Thea.
Chillaxing afterwards and drying out the picnic blankets.

To the Disas - via Kasteelspoort

Start at the SANParks path on Theresa Avenue, Camps Bay. Click here for a Google Map of the path.
Follow the path up to the Pipe Track and take the Kasteelspoort ascent all the way up (point A on the map). [For a larger PDF version of the above annotated Slingsby Map, click here.]
From here follow the path to the Waterworks Museum at the foot of Hely Hutchinson Dam. Directly opposite the little museum is a path heading north-east up the valley between St Michaels and Junction Peaks. Walk all the way up until you reach the Aquaduct (point B on the map).
After admiring the Red Disas,
and the rare Amphithalea imbricata (above) at the little bridge at the start of the Aquaduct – point B on the map), turn back and retrace your steps till you get to a waterfall on your right (point C on the map).
Head up the valley between St Michaels and Orion Peaks where you can pick up a faint path on the left of the disa-lined stream.
Follow the path as it winds along the stream and you eventually come out at a junction near a little bridge
and a signpost (point D on the map) saying Echo Valley.
Follow the Echo Valley path to the next junction (Point E on the map), then go through the Valley of the Red Gods back to the start of the Kasteelspoort descent. (Point A on the map).
Retrace your steps back to Theresa Ave.

NB: The Red Disas flower from the middle of January till the middle of March.
Once again, I am indebted to Peter Slingsby for his great maps. Click here to purchase your own.

Time: 5 hours if reasonably fit.
 GPS points:
Start at Theresa Ave track -33.963255, 18.384411
Start of Kasteelpoort path from Pipe Track -33.964910, 18.389336
A -33.972284, 18.394586
Waterworks Museum Path -33.974692, 18.407725
B -33.972943, 18.416990
C  -33.972087, 18.414638
D -33.969465, 18.411788
E -33.968949, 18.410816
Blue Disa (Disa graminifolia) in Echo Valley. Flowering time is February.